Posts Tagged ‘rice noodles’

When I visited Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, I made sure that I would have my fill of their infamous pho or Vietnamese noodle soup. I was hellbent on trying as much pho as I could that it was actually my first meal in Vietnam (our breakfast in Ben Thanh Market). But there was one restaurant that made its mark on me, mainly because their noodle soup was really good.

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The restaurant was just an accidental discovery but it was already way past lunch time and it was the only restaurant we spotted around the area. We didn’t know anything about the place but we bit the bullet and went in anyway. Upon entering, I was appeased when I saw one wall plastered with photos of locals enjoying their food. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if locals frequent the place, yeah?

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When we got seated, we were immediately served with some sort of pastry. We weren’t exactly sure if they were complimentary but Timmy was too hungry to bother so she went ahead and ate one. I was saving room for my main meal so I only took a small bite off of hers. It was actually delicious! The pastry was flaky, and the filling (which I suspect to be minced pork) was tasty and savory.

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Also on the table were the usual accompaniment for pho – mung sprouts, cilantro and chives. There were also some additional condiments like garlic oil, sliced peppers, marinated garlic and three types of sauces that I honestly didn’t use so I never got to identify them.

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After a short while, our orders were served. Timmy and I got the same thing which had everything on it. Wantons, shrimp, pork balls, and egg noodle soup. My favorite part was the “pork chops” which were actually boiled pork reminiscent of our very own nilaga. The pork pieces were so delightfully tender and the broth was really tasty. I think the dish cost around ~Php120, honestly a fair price for such good quality.

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If I ever have the chance to go back to Ho Chi Minh, I would definitely pay this restaurant another visit. If you’re going to HCMC, this is a must-try! It’s around 8 minutes by foot from Ben Thanh Market.

Check out my previous posts on my Indochina trip here:

Last April, I went on a multi-city Indochina trip with my good friend, Timmy. Our trip started off at Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (also known as Saigon). We got to the airport past 1am and we had to pass the time outside Tan Son Nhat Airport because for some reason, it closes down at around 3am. We dozed on and off while waiting for the 1st bus trip that would take us to the main city area. We could have easily taken a cab but we wanted to play the backpacker card and chose to commute via local transport as much as we can.

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The bus passed by before 6am and we immediately got on board. We asked the bus driver to drop us off at a station nearest to Ben Thanh Market. From there, we only had to walk a short distance to reach the market area.

In the middle of a round about in front of the market, we saw a statue of Tran Nguyen Han, apparently a famous general who served under King Le Loi in the 15th century.

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Ben Thanh Market is arguably the most famous market in Vietnam. The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and today is considered as one of the symbols of Ho Chi Minh City.

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The main gate of the market has a yellow clock tower. Inside is a tightly organized grid of aisles, arranged according to product. Most of the shops were still closed when we got there so there was not much foot traffic yet. Trust me, it gets pretty crowded when the market is in full swing. We headed to the inner section of the market, where a good number of food stalls were already open.

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An array of freshly cooked skewered meats were in display but I wanted my first meal in Vietnam to be as stereotypical as possible. I just had to have pho and spring rolls. HAD TO.

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There’s nothing like rice noodles, thin beef slices and herbs soaking in hot broth to start off  a day of adventure. The usual side of fresh bean sprouts were crispy and well… fresh haha! I did not bother with the leaves though mainly because I couldn’t identify what they were. I squeezed in a small amount of sriracha and that black sauce for additional flavor, mixed it all together and slurped away.

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These fresh spring rolls were also good mainly because of the peanut sauce. For some reason, the rolls tasted a little too ~healthy~ for me. I finished mine though because I hate to waste food but Timmy didn’t even bother with hers. I had to pry hers open, got rid of most of the leaves and smothered it with the sauce. It was much more palatable after that.

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I suggest everyone to try out the food stalls inside the Ben Thanh Market for a taste of cheap and authentic Vietnamese food.